Audience Reception Research in a Post-broadcasting Digital Age

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Audience reception research was a child of the broadcasting age, emerging strongly as a subdiscipline in media and communication research in the 1980s. Many saw reception research as a cross-fertilizing force theoretically and methodologically, bringing together research traditions from the humanities and the social sciences, and adding a qualitative orientation to the near-hegemonic rule of quantitative methods in audience research. This article discusses the ways in which reception research is reinventing itself in a post-broadcasting age. With sense-making processes as the continued key concern, three transformations are affecting the trajectory of reception research: An empirical shift has occurred from analyzing viewers’ “decoding” encounters with media “texts” to mapping audience participation in the wider mediascapes of traditional, digital, and social media; a theoretical adoption of, and contributions to, theories of participation and mediatization; and a methodological shift from purely qualitative to a mixed-method research design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTelevision & New Media
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)155-169
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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